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In Nigeria: The Law Is Truly An Ass

The law is an ass; is a phrase of English origin that Charles Dickens popularised in his book; Oliver Twist, 1838.

While an ass is an informal name for a Donkey in England, it also represents obstinacy and stupidity. And so, when the law is strictly applied without considering the common sense aspect of the matter, the law becomes an ass.

For instance, when the court told Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist; "...the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction", he responded; "if the law supposes that - the law is a ass - a idiot".

Mr Bumble was furious because the court knew that he didn’t have any sort of control over his wife since the woman was domineering.

Yet the court overlooked this aspect of the matter while reaching its decision, which was based on the law, as it was then; that husbands were responsible for their wives acts.

Dom: So, if that law was still in existence, President Jonathan would have been held responsible for all the careless statements that Mama Peace (his wife) has been making.
Gary: How can? Jonathan will just quote Mr Bumble, “the law is a ass – a idiot”.
Dom: Then, the President would be admitting that he doesn’t have control over his wife.
Gary: Please stop putting words into my mouth after all she’s not the only wife of a presidential candidate talking off the point at the moment. Didn't you read from the media what Aisha, Buhari’s wife promised EDO State women?
Dom: Sorry, I didn’t; what did she say?
Gary: That if her husband wins the presidential election; he will stop EDO women from sending their daughters overseas for prostitution.
Dom: How will he do that?
Gary: I thought you support Buhari and his political party - APC. Go and ask them; may be Buhari will declare War Against Prostitution.
Dom: In EDO State?
Gary: Well, by her statement, Mrs Buhari has insinuated that EDO is synonymous with prostitution. Therefore, should EDO women vote against Buhari because of his wife’s statement?

Gentlemen, please let’s not dwell on that, luckily the law has been changed and so, our wives are now responsible for their actions. 

However, the issue I want to highlight is how Nigerian politicians and some lawyers who call themselves Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) have virtually turned Nigerian laws into a big ass.

For instance, the Police boss gave an order that everybody must leave the polling booths after casting their votes.

Immediately, APC told their supporters to disregard the Police instructions and stay at the polling booths so as to ‘protect’ their votes. And that the police haven’t legal powers to issue such orders.

As usual, APC was supported by those ‘human rights’ lawyers (SANs) who are readily available to offer unsolicited legal advice and in most cases ending up advocating nonsense. They quoted the constitution in support of their own point.

Meanwhile, Mr Jega, Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has equally told the police that the electoral act doesn’t support their orders.

And now, PDP has informed its supporters to remain at the polling centres after casting their votes in order to ‘protect’ their votes too.

By the way, what will the Police be protecting if voters are allowed to remain at the polling booths to protect their votes?

Without doubt, there’s no law that prevents voters from remaining at the polling centres after casting their votes. But, why can’t these people see the common sense aspect of the Police order?

For instance, 500 voters are registered to cast their votes in each polling booth. The consequences of allowing 500 people remaining at the polling centre after casting their votes will be unimaginable.

This is why the Police simply want voters to cast their votes and leave so as to forestall any breach of peace. Even if there’s no law that says so.

Obviously the law did not make itself. Therefore, the asses should be those people who created and implemented the law without considering the common sense aspect of it.

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